Monday, February 9, 2009

Two Moons in Someone Else's Moccasins

There is this well-known native American saying: “Do not judge your neighbour until you walk two moons in his moccasins.” Looks like some of our American neighbors have strapped on their moccasins and are walking in our paths. Here's a video on the same, encouraging. Interesting exercise, I applaud this effort.

I believe Americans are like people in many parts of the world: hospitable, generous and kind. Americans have one more trait that people in many parts of the world lack: they tend to be non-judgmental. However, the things that have made the world judgmental and nations less hospitable have arrived in America in the form of commentary from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. They appeal to humanity's lesser instincts just as a generation of semi-literate mullahs have in many Muslim countries.

While we don't always need as close an appreciation for how the world appears to someone else as in the experiment above, I do believe it makes us better neighbors, even adversaries, to be sensitive to it. Something as simple as appreciating the other side's perspective can significantly reduce misunderstanding, conflict and even violence.

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